Right at the start of South by Southwest, MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis has announced the company's 3-D printing desktop scanner: the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner. It's exactly what it sounds like: a Makerbot-created tool that can scan real, 3-D objects and turn them into digital files. Those files can then be sent to other 3-D printers, and the objects printed on demand.
Lasers and cameras in the device scan the object and digitize it. After that, with the file handy, it can be shared--ideally meaning hobbyists without much experience in scanning will be able to create and share files with other hobbyists without much experience in scanning.